Another Tuesday, another opportunity for us to focus on content marketing! But today, there’s a twist! We’re looking at visual content marketing today.
Now, it may seem like this isn’t something for law firms or lawyers to think about, but I promise you that it is. I was just reading an excellent article over on Business 2 Community on The 10 New Rules of Visual Content Marketing from Paul Bingham, who says:
It used to be OK to have a static website gallery, post text to your social channels, and use corporate photos and videos online. Now, readers depend on visuals to figure out whether your content is worth their time."
Expectations of consumers have changed too. They no longer have time to click through to an image or link to see what your content is about. They make split-second decisions based on the visual content provided."
That’s not just true for your average consumer – it’s true for clients, potential clients, influencers and amplifiers as well – we’re all busy people, quickly scrolling through our feeds looking for what grabs our attention the most strongly to determine whether we invest any time in it. Visuals can help someone to decide to make that time investment in your valuable content.
Bingham says that we’re "visually wired" and shares this graphic from Visual Website Optimizer Blog to emphasize that:
He goes on to investigate the 10 rules for visual content marketing that we need to adhere to in order to keep people happy, and today, we’ll look at two of them.
Tip One: Be Personable
We’ve long talked about how social media can help to round out your online image, to help make you someone that clients and potential clients know, like and trust online as well as off. Visuals can supersize this process by injecting your personality even further into your content.
Let’s consider what Bingham says, and then how this applies to lawyers and law firms:
For too long brands have been bland and boring. Think stock photos."
Thankfully, the recent developments in visual content make it easy to bring a brand to life."
The right visuals, including photos, videos, infographics, and e-books can add depth to your brand story and reinforce your culture."
One of the easiest ways to do so is to give your customers a “behind the scenes” look. Show them what goes into making or marketing your brand, post pictures from office events, maybe even how you brainstorm."
The more your customers know about the culture of your company, the more your brand’s personality will shine through."
As I’ve said in previous posts, this can sound a lot like "marketing speak," and you may want to tune it out as not applicable to you – but it is, because we’re talking about giving a well-rounded look at who you are as a lawyer.
It doesn’t have to be unprofessional or too personal either – it can add depth to who you are (when they say "brand" just think "me" or "my reputation") in a completely professional way.
Here are some examples:
- Give a behind the scenes look at your office – either your personal office if you’re not uncomfortable with how messy it is (I know how some of my lawyers’ offices look!) or photos of your reception area, conference rooms, artwork in the lobby, etc.
- Do short interviews with your colleagues in the office. Come up with a question that has a quick answer (15 seconds is the maximum on Instagram, 7 seconds on Vine), post the question in the comments and let the video answer speak for itself.
- Post photos from office events or charity work that the office does – maybe the firm has an anniversary party coming up, and you can get a few shots of some of the partners together, the cake or centerpiece with the anniversary number on it, your colleagues pitching in to raise money through marathon runs, etc. Get creative.
- If you’re a regular speaker or presenter at a conference, take photos of your fellow panelists, or the first slide before speaking. Get someone attending to get a shot of you at the podium, or even a few moments of your speech. Take a couple of selfies with attendees. If you have a booth at the conference, get some booth photos, with the firm logo in them, and photos of yourself with the colleagues behind the table.
- Any time you’re involved in a client success where there is a photo opportunity, share that – groundbreaking for a new manufacturing plant, an awards’ ceremony, etc. If you can get a photo with yourself and your client that they’re happy to have you share, even better.
You can also get creative – does your firm do an ice cream social if it gets above 85 degrees outside? Photograph a few colleagues enjoying their favorite flavors in the break room. Get a few partners together on casual Friday – especially if they’re normally buttoned up people. See if you can get a selfie with every partner at your firm – bonus points if you do this as an associate, and spend a few moments networking with each of them.
As you can see, there are LOTS of ways to be creative and have fun with using images to add personality to your "brand," while still remaining professional and also communicating the type of work that you do, as well as the seriousness with which you take your area of expertise. Give clients, potential clients, influencers and amplifiers the impression that you are the kind of lawyer that they’d enjoy getting to know better, and as a result, would trust with their legal work. (This is, of course, in addition to the substantive content you’re putting out in addition)
Tip Two: Post Regularly
Bingham tells us:
Content never sleeps and neither does your online presence."
Visual content is not a campaign that ends in a few days or weeks. It’s not a one-off thing. It’s an on-going strategy."
Make creating, publishing, and maintaining visual content a key part of your marketing strategy."
For you, that means that you can’t just post once or twice a year and then wonder why no one is beating down your door asking you to work for them. There has to be consistency.
Yes, social media can be a time suck if you allow it to be, and I am certainly not advocating or suggesting that you need to be posting daily photos of what you ate for breakfast. But you should be using visual and textual content to connect with people on a regular and consistent basis, however works best for you.
That may be weekly, or every few days, or even daily in some cases. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by that, because we’ve talked before about how you can repurpose content in other ways, and that’s what I’d recommend in order to spread things out so you aren’t committing to creating new content on a daily basis.
In terms of visual content, there are a few ways you can help with consistent, regular visual content:
- Use tip one for periodic glimpses into your life as a lawyer.
- Add in a "Throwback Thursday" every once in a while – maybe a photo of you on the day you graduated from law school or passed the bar. Perhaps the day you joined your firm, or your original head shot. Anything fun and legal-related is perfect.
- I’m a fan of the "Friday Funny" – I’ll find a legal-themed cartoon, or use one of the ones that I used to circulate for our ILNBriefs series (which illustrated a funny law in various jurisdictions) and share those on Fridays for something different.
- Use images with your posts – you should be using related images with your blog posts, articles, etc. for all of the reasons that we’ve talked about. When you share these via social media, if they don’t automatically populate when you post the link, make sure to post the image separately. It draws people’s attention in the vast sea of text and only takes a few extra seconds.
- If some of your text content is tips or short phrases, put it together as an illustration and share that. It’s memorable, and easily shared. Make sure to put your name on it so that when it’s shared, it continues to be attributed to you.
There are a multitude of ways to make visual content a part of your textual content, and a regular part of your content marketing strategy. In a profession that is well-known for being text-content heavy, stand out by incorporating some visuals. You can do so in a professional way that will add depth and make you more memorable. What are your best practices for using visuals in content marketing?